This recipe was sent in by Gloria L. We all make stew and we have our own methods. It is great to learn from someone else regarding how she makes her stew. A good tip below will be great for mummy’s with fussy eaters. She also has handy tips on what to do with left over boiled pepper. I do this too, so it made me smile to see myself in someone else’s kitchen. Lol
Today’s offering is beef stew for my 10-year-old son. I say this because the meat I have chosen to use is pre-cut into bite size pieces, which suit my boy down to the ground because he is such a carnivore! He loves the fact that every mouthful is accompanied by small pieces of beef. Heaven for a small child eh? Both my husband and I secretly like it too. The only difference is that I have to turn down the heat a little when the little man is involved although he is fast catching up in the heat stakes. The first step I take is to place the diced pieces of beef in a pan with some diced onions, thyme, curry powder and 3 maggi cubes, a teaspoon of dried pepper and a teaspoon of my ‘magic’ seasoning (Jumbo – chicken flavour). My daughter calls it magic as she is a novice to cooking and has really only just got interested as she is about to set off for Uni and I’ve been frantically trying to get to her at least learn how to make a few staples so she can eat ‘proper’ food there!
Like you, I initially steam the meat as this produces a richer more intensively flavoured stock. If it looks like it needs it, I add a small amount of water to the cooking beef. I let this simmer on a medium heat, and depending on the amount of beef you are using, it should be cooked in 20-30 minutes. Once the meat is cooked, I transfer it using a slotted spoon to a foil lined tray which I place in the grill to brown the meat, turning over once one side is browned, and repeat the process. This is to substitute frying as I am not keen on doing this. I feel you get the same results and this is much healthier for you, lol!
So, I use the following to make what I call the base of the stew:
· 3 x cans peeled plum tomatoes
· 1 romero sweet pepper (used to substitute tatashe as I live in the suburbs and we can’t get this)
· 3 x scotch bonnet peppers
· 1 medium-sized onion
I blend all the above ingredients and pour into a medium-sized pan and leave to boil until completely reduced and all the water has been absorbed.
Some people see this as a painstaking step but I believe this is makes the difference between an amazeballs stew and a just run of the mill stew. This process does take some time and patience. The trick is to have it on a slow simmer – a la Guy Fieri – low and slow. The result is a rich, thick sauce which forms the base of many other dishes (more of that later).
The next step is to make the stew.
You will need
2 cooking spoons of vegetable oil – or whatever oil you cook with
Half an onion thinly sliced
A pinch of thyme
A teaspoon of curry powder
2 tablespoons of Jumbo seasoning as referred to above
1 tablespoon of tomato puree
I put the oil into a pan and heat up. I check if the oil is hot enough by putting one of the slices of onion in the oil.
If the onion starts to sizzle, I add the rest of the sliced onions. I let the onions fry for a couple of minutes until the onions turn translucent. At this point I add the pinch of thyme and curry powder and let these cook out for just a couple of minutes.
I then add in the pre-prepared stew base to the mixture of onions and spices. At this stage I add in the tomato puree and the Jumbo.
Stir the mixture and again leave it to cook out again for some minutes. The beauty of having pre-boiled the pepper, onion and tomato mixture is that ordinarily, if you were just adding the blended pepper mix now, it would take ages, and involve a lot of splashing all over your cooker, for the mixture to get to the reduced stage it needs to be to make the stew really intensely flavoured and rich. As the pepper mixture is already cooked, I just let it all simmer for about 5 minutes for all the flavours to amalgamate.
Next, I add in the meat (which I have previously grilled) and stir the stew together. Leave to simmer so the meat absorbs the flavours of the stew.
Serve with your choice of rice, yam or whatever you prefer. My son has a huge pile of the stew and about 3 tablespoons of rice as he is all about the protein!
As I wrote earlier, the ‘stew base’ does come in handy for other things too. For example, my daughter does not ever eat beef, however is mad about eggs and eggy stew. So this morning, once I had finished boiling the pepper mix, I quickly sliced some onions and fried them in a little oil. I added in some mixed in some mixed herbs, curry powder and the ever trusty jumbo. Gave all these a light fry and added in a cooking spoonful of the stew base. I added in about a 3rd of a can of corned beef (sneakily making her eat beef, lol) and cooked for a couple of minutes. I added to lightly beaten eggs, et voila!! Eggy stew ready for one happy girl. See photo of it half demolished).
Next time I need to cook jollof rice I have a nice stock to use. Also I can cook stew in a rush, once I remember to take the tub out of the freezer the night before. I sometimes use the same base and make a stew using palm oil instead of vegetable oil, adding in some ground crayfish. It gives it an amazingly different taste. This stew base can also be used for Efo Riro
Love and happy cooking!
Thanks Gloria, that stew looks absolutely delicious, it is calling for plain boiled rice or yam. Regards to your son, he truly is a lucky boy. If you liked this recipe, and you wish to send me some of yours too, please do. Send to firstname.lastname@example.org